Coping With the Terrible Twins | Periodicals Price Survey 2012 2012-05-03


[Use the link above for access to the full text and the charts provided by the authors.] “Stuck between the rock (stagnant budgets)and the hard place (steady serials price increases), every year libraries are forced to come up with creative ways to meet the ever-growing needs of their users. But inventiveness has limits, and many libraries are nearing the end of their ability to leverage shrinking buying power. The bad news: the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) tempers optimism about the economy with some hard facts in its Fiscal Survey of States, Fall 2011. The report notes that while fiscal conditions are improving generally, state budgets remain constrained by the lack of a strong national economic recovery and the withdrawal of federal stimulus funds provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA): 29 states anticipate lower spending in FY12, compared with prerecession levels. A 2011 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities(CBPP) echoes the NASBO findings, predicting that state budget cuts in 2012 will hit education, health care, and other services harder this year than in any year since 2008. Decreases in public funding mean bad news for library budgets. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Association for Research Libraries show that over the past 25 years funding for libraries in higher education has shrunk dramatically as a percentage of total expenditures. Expenditures for libraries as a percentage of all university expenses have dropped from a high of 3.7 percent in 1982 to less than two percent in 2008. This may not sound like a large decrease, but if spending had remained at 3.7 percent, libraries in higher education would have had another $3 billion to spend. That’s a lot of serials! In response to the 2012 EBSCO Library Collections and Budgeting Trends Survey, conducted in February 2012 (in which 395 predominantly academic libraries participated), 69 percent of libraries reported that their current-year budgets had remained flat or decreased, 52 percent indicated that they expect their budgets for the upcoming year to remain flat, and 22 percent expect their budgets to decrease. In response to these pressures, most libraries reported that they were likely to decrease spending for print journals (80 percent), print-plus-online journals (63 percent), and print books (55 percent). The library marketplace for information resources has not yet arrived at a ‘new normal,’ though we posit that in 2012 public budgets will finally bottom out after a four-year downward spiral. Nonetheless, after a four-year downward spiral, predictions regarding public funding for libraries remain dismal—and, unfortunately, serials pricing continues to cast a large shadow over our collections’ future. While state and library budgets continue to decrease, research indicates that serials prices are increasing—at a rate that also seems to be escalating (see Table 4: Cost History by Library of Congress Subject). Data from the ISI indexes shows an increase in prices, from a five percent increase in 2011 to six percent in 2012... The Consumer Price Index, on the other hand, advanced 2.9 percent for 2011, which means serials inflation continues to far exceed general inflationary pressures... This year we continue to examine titles in the combined ISI Arts and Humanities, Science Citation, and Social Sciences Citation indexes, which offer published online subscription rates, and were able to obtain standard pricing for approximately half of the covered titles... As was the case in 2011, half of the titles in the combined indexes are from five major publishers—Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and SAGE. Also as noted last year, all five publishers offer Big Deal packages with increases in the cost of the package dictated by contracts, which may differ from market rates for print. Compared with last year’s data, this set of online titles increased in price by 4.5 percent, slightly lower than that for print titles. An analysis of the more than 18,000 e-journal packages handled by EBSCO in 2011 reflected increases in the three percent to six percent range, with the average being 5.1 percent... Prices for science, technology, and medical (STM) serials remain the highest, compared with prices for serials in other subject areas... Chemistry has historically seen the highest average serials prices, and that has not changed: recent reports show that the average price for chemistry journals hovers around $4000 annually... Per the 2012 EBSCO survey, serials cancellations and reductions in monographic purchases remain the primary tools used to control costs. Other approaches, though to a much smaller degree, are changing or dropping journal packages and using pay-per-view (PPV) instead of subscriptions as a purchase mechanism. Faced with the Terrible Twins and their equally fierce sister, Relentless Change, libraries, publishers, and vendors are implementing creative strategies. Here are some of the current trends affecting the information la



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Date tagged:

05/03/2012, 07:15

Date published:

05/01/2012, 16:01